And what a story it's been so far.

Our current Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has been in the top job for 50 media-filled days. Here are a few of the highlights of Australia’s newest, media-loving Prime Minister, as written by Belinda Jones.

2018

24 August: Morrison becomes 30th Prime Minister after a tumultuous week in politics, including two leadership spills and a rare suspension of parliament. The Liberal Party Room voted 50-year-old, Scott John Morrison, Member for Cook, New South Wales, to become Australia’s 30th Prime Minister. 

26 August: Prime Minister Morrison announces his Cabinet: former Environment Minister, Josh Frydenberg, is appointed Treasurer, Marise Payne moved to Foreign Affairs, Melissa Price elevated to Environment Minister and Dan Tehan moved to the Education portfolio. New faces on the front bench include Angus Taylor, Karen Andrews, Alex Hawke, and David Coleman.  Many other front bench positions remained unchanged.

28 August: Prime Minister gives each of his Ministers an Australian flag lapel pin to remind them of whose side they’re on. Julia Banks announces she’s not recontesting her seat citing bullying.

In a quote from The Guardian, 29 Aug 2018:

‘MP for Chisholm in Melbourne says last week’s messy spill was “the last straw” and women have suffered in silence “too long”.’

29 August: Prime Minister asks Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce to be special envoys, both accept the positions. Former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, is appointed Special Envoy for Indigenous Affairs. Former Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, is appointed special envoy for drought assistance and recovery.

31 August: Former Prime Minister, Member for Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull, resigns and quits the country for New York, USA. Former Prime Minister Turnbull’s resignation triggers the Wentworth by-election. The normally safe Liberal seat by-election is due to be held on 20 October 2018.

5 September: Prime Minister retweets a tweet about to his followers, with the comment: 

The Parliamentary Inquiry into the Au Pair Affair begins.

11 September: Under intense questioning from the Opposition during Question Time about the Au Pair Affair, Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, makes the infamous “groomed a girl” slur about former Australian Border Force Commissioner, Roman Quaedvlieg, under parliamentary privilege.

(Source: Hansard)

13 September: Prime Minister tweets and deletes Fatman Scoop video.

16 September: Prime Minister announces Royal Commission into aged care coincidentally just over 24 hours before ABC airs the Four Corners explosive exposé, 'Who Cares? An investigation into the aged care system in Australia'.

17 SeptemberAnn Sudmalis announces she’s not recontesting her seat of Gilmore, citing bullying, joining other female LNP MPs confirming bullying in LNP including Julie Bishop, Kelly O’Dwyer and others.  

19 SeptemberStrawberry tampering prompt swift action by the Prime Minister, new food tampering bill introduced and passed in around 48 hours.

20 September: Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, survives a no-confidence motion based on his possible ineligibility under s44 due to his personal business interests in child care centres in Queensland. The motion moved by Greens MP Adam Bandt was defeated 68-67.

21 September: Prime Minister announces a $4.6 billion funding boost for Catholic and independent schools. Later that same day, the Prime Minister, the number one ticket holder at Cronulla Sharks and well-known “Sharkies” fan, was caught out saying he couldn’t be at the game but would be watching the Cronulla Sharks semi-final game against the Melbourne Storm at a pub that night. He was seen that later that evening, during game time, attending a Liberal fundraiser at the private home of a wealthy benefactor.

24 September: Prime Minister makes ‘indulgent self-loathing’ comment in a tweet to his followers, sparks further debate about changing the date of Australia Day celebrations on 26 January. ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, is unexpectedly sacked by the ABC board with limited details for the reason why.

 

26 September: Special Envoy for Indigenous Affairs, Tony Abbott, receives a frosty reception in the Northern Territory Indigenous community, Borroloola, by Elders and community members.

From The Guardian, 27 Sep 2018:

“We asked him, ‘why are you here?’ He said, ‘I’m here because I heard that a lot of kids are not attending school’. But Borroloola school has one of the highest attendance rates in the NT. We were confused. He was really arrogant. He didn’t want to sit down and listen to us.”

27 September: Chair of the ABC, Justin Milne, resigns in the aftermath of Michelle Guthrie’s sacking. Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert confuses “debt” and “deficit” on a Sky appearance, he was also caught taking a selfie when the camera unexpectedly turned to him.

28 September: Prime Minister recommends Dr. Kirsten Ferguson as Acting Chair of the ABC.

29 September: Prime Minister attends the AFL Grand Final in Melbourne.

 

30 September: Prime Minister appears on ABC Insiders, tells ABC to “get back to work”. Later that day, the Prime Minister attends the NRL Grand Final in Sydney.

3 October: Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, announces the GST on feminine hygiene products will be abolished.

5 October: Sydney radio 2GB shock-jock and snappy dresser, Alan Jones, bullies Sydney Opera House chief executive Louise Herron, live on air. Australia learns Assistant Treasurer and Member for Fadden, Stuart Robert, has been slugging the taxpayer up to $2,800 per month – or $90 per day – for his home internet bills when the story breaks in mainstream media.

 
(Source: IPEA)

7 October: PM attends Bathurst 1000 car races.

8 October: Prime Minister is a guest on the Alan Jones morning show. At that time, Alan Jones had failed to apologise to Louise Herron for his behaviour the previous Friday. The Prime Minister, in reference the backlash to the Sydney Opera House being used to promote a Sydney horse race, said Australians are being “precious” and that he sees no problem using “Sydney’s biggest billboard” to promote a horse race. A protest outside the Sydney Opera House planned for the following evening was announced that morning. Shortly after the protest was announced, Alan Jones apologised to Louise Herron and the Prime Minister made no comment in reference to the bullying of Herron by Jones.

9 October: The Prime Minister’s new Environment Minister, Melissa Price, rejects a peer-reviewed climate change report written by 91 climate scientists before having read the full report. Sydney Opera House protest goes ahead that evening.

10 October: Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, pushes the Prime Minister to release former Liberal MP and report author Phillip Ruddock’s review into religious protections in Australia — which was released five months ago. Calls to release Ruddock’s report grew after a leak of the report suggested religious schools want to be able to ‘enshrine’ traditional policies that discriminate against LGBTIQ teachers, families and students. Prime Minister says he supports the current legislation on the issue, which allows schools to discriminate against LGBTIQ students and staff.

11 October: Debate erupts about religious schools and their right to discriminate against LGBTIQ students, families and teachers. Prime Minister says on Sky that no child should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. After being expelled with only 24 hours notice from Nauru, Médecins Sans Frontières doctors’ voices cracked with emotion, fighting back tears, some doctors told harrowing tales of their experiences dealing with asylum seekers, refugees and Nauruan locals. The doctors called upon the Prime Minister for a complete evacuation of all asylum seekers and refugees from Nauru. 

So much has happened in 50 days and this is only a snippet of everything that has been happening in Federal politics.

STRANGE COINCIDENCES

Interestingly, I noticed a coincidental correlation on four occasions.

On four occasions, issues were raised that sparked furious debate, as they had done previously in the public domain. The timing of these issues being raised seemed to correlate perfectly with some highly sensitive issues for the Morrison Government.  

28 August: Prime Minister announces his lapel pin gift in a tweet and press conference, prompting much discussion around the country. This happened the same day Julia Banks announced she was quitting politics at the next election because of bullying.

5 September: Prime Minister tweets ‘gender whisperer’ comment, prompting much discussion around the country. This happened the same day as the Au Pair Inquiry began.

24 September: Prime Minister tweets ‘self-indulgent loathing’ comment, prompting much discussion around the country about changing the date of Australia Day. This happened the same day as Michelle Guthrie was sacked.

11 October: Leaks from the Ruddock report – which the Government had been sitting on for five months – made their way to the mainstream media over the previous 24 hours, prompting much discussion around the country about religious freedom. This happened the same day Médecins Sans Frontières held their press conference after being expelled from Nauru.

It has been a very "interesting" first 50 days of the Morrison Prime Ministership. Chances are there it won't last many more.

You can follow Belinda Jones on Twitter @belindajones68.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

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